My comments tonight will deal only with those things I have observed
and felt from an animator's viewpoint.
The most important point, and one I should wish to stress, is
that a closer working relationship should exist among the men, coordinating
the efforts of the animators, the layout men, and the background
men. Such a relationship existed at one time, but it seems gradually
to have been lost over a period of years. It is to be hoped that
it may be revived.
Looking back to the early stages of the development of backgrounds,
we can see there have been vast improvements, progressive rather
than retrogressive in nature. In the early period, simplicity was
the keynote. The backgrounds expressed only the locale or setting
in which the action took place. In most instances these settings
were only suggestions, and were kept very subdued, using more or
less flat tones in a black and white wash. The main object was to
make the action stand out - not to complicate it with elaborate
backgrounds. In fact, some backgrounds consisted of merely a line
for the horizon and a tree in the foreground.
During this early period the animator was in closer touch, not
only with backgrounds, but with layouts as well. He laid out his
own backgrounds and model drawings; in some instances the animator
laid out an entire picture, and then animated besides. The backgrounds,
of course, were simpler; but they were workable, using only necessary
detail and suiting the animation of that time. In other words, animation
was the primary concern - the backgrounds were secondary.
Cutouts were used in the early days to enhance the background.
Later overlays and underlays were introduced to give more depth
to the backgrounds. From that we developed to overlays on sliding
cells passing in front of action to add depth. [...]